A recent addition to CPS, Ron brings a plethora of experience to the role of Chief Communications Officer. After earning a Journalism degree from Ohio University, he worked as a reporter and copy editor at the Michigan City Dispatch before returning to his hometown of Cincinnati to work at both the Cincinnati Inquirer and the Cincinnati Post. His focus at the Post was business news, which eventually led him to a 7-year stint with The Wall Street Journal, during which time he also earned his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
After his time on the East Coast, Ron shifted his focus to the business side of journalism, working as an assistant to the publisher of the L.A. Times. His responsibilities included heading up the company’s employee communications department, which is what first sparked his interest in public affairs. He spent a year at a crisis PR firm in L.A., after which he became Director of Media Relations for Allied Signal – an aerospace company that manufactures airplane parts. After 3 years, Ron moved to the company’s automotive division, which eventually led him to Detroit and a corporate communications career with Ford Motor Company.
Since 2010, Ron has held senior communications roles with H&R Block, Aramark, and Kaplan Higher Education while also establishing his own consulting company. As Chief Communications Officer for CPS, he oversees the District’s day-to-day relationship with Chicago’s media while maintaining a communications strategy that serves the needs of all internal and external stakeholders, including parents, students, staff, and community partners.
Q. What attracted you to a career in the field of education?
A. I’ve always really liked education. Growing up in Cincinnati, I was fortunate to receive a good education, and I’ve always appreciated that. My interest in the field began with my alma mater, Ohio University, with which I’ve remained strongly connected. My position with Kaplan, as well as some consulting I’ve done for Franklin and Marshall College, raised the interest level that much more, making the opportunity with CPS an exciting next step. This is my first foray into primary and secondary education, and I think it will be an interesting bridge from my experiences in higher ed.
Q. What goals to you have for the CPS Communications Department?
A. I want to continue to build a strong team – one that can create and execute a long-term communications strategy that reflects the vision of our CEO and supports the needs of all stakeholders. I also want us to build stronger relationships with schools and other CPS departments so that we can collaborate on sharing the many positive stories happening in our District every day.
Q. What are you passionate about personally?
A. My family, especially my wife Robin and our two children, Louis and Francesca. Both of my kids are very artistic – Louis plays the violin, viola, guitar and bass guitar, and will be starting this fall at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Francesca, 15, is a talented dancer. She studies ballet, jazz, and modern dance, and also loves horseback riding.
Q. What do you like to do in your spare time?
A. I like to exercise, especially riding my bike and lifting weights. I also read a lot (mostly Shakespeare and Civil War literature) and really enjoy all forms of rock music.
Q. How does being a parent impact your work in education?
A. I think there are many ways it can be helpful. Practically speaking, it’s useful in this work to be in tune with kids…to understand what they like, what they wear, what bores them versus what gets them engaged. Being a parent also forces you to keep up with the technology that shapes the world of younger generations. And if you’re going to work in the field of education, it helps to just understand the psychology of kids, which as a parent you can’t help but try and do.
- Pets: A dog named Sam and a cat named Bugger
- Favorite Sports Team: University of Kentucky Basketball
- Favorite Snack Food: Cashews
- Most Prized Possession: iPod
Back to Leadership